A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this true and tender adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's fable will not appeal to young children, who may seem to be the target audience based on the age of the young star. Indeed, the themes in this film (the little prince dies at the end by snakebite) will leave some children disturbed. Only older children, aged 9 and up, who are in the mood for a slow and tender film are recommended to see it. This is a musical parable that adults may enjoy more than children, but older kids who don't find it too schmaltzy may be intrigued and moved--not, however, by the music!
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What's the story?
In this live-action take on Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic story, a child from another world enlists the help of pilot to save the lone flower than grows on his planet. When a pilot (Richard Kiley) crash lands in the Sahara desert, he's surprised to find a little boy (Steven Warner) who claims to be a prince from another planet. The Little Prince tells the pilot stories of his inter-planetary travels -- stories with much philosophical context. The movie features appearances by Bob Fosse as the Snake and Gene Wilder as the Fox. In the end, the Prince allows himself to be bitten by the snake so that he can be reborn on his own world and take care of his beloved flower.
Is it any good?
THE LITTLE PRINCE does a very effective job of translating Antoine de Saint-Exupery's thoughtful and tender fable to the screen -- but tune out the forgettable Lerner and Loewe tunes. Older children are more likely to enjoy this parable, which may prove baffling or disturbing to the younger children to whom it would seem targeted, based on the age of the Little Prince. Nostalgia for childhood, after all, is an unlikely theme to appeal to children.
It's somewhat slow moving, even without the brief songs, but the visuals are imaginative and the performances excellent. Steven Warner makes an ideal Little Prince in appearance and actions, but his British accent and slight lisp may be hard for children to understand. Bob Fosse and Gene Wilder add some pep. The sad and sweet ending, in which the Pilot, aloft again, hears the Little Prince's laughter in the stars, may not compensate for the upsetting death of the Prince, the scene of his death may be very upsetting to young viewers. Quiet pacing of the story belies its complexity, but this is generally a fine and tender film. Those who give it a chance will find its wisdom moving and strangely unforgettable.